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Tuesday December 5, 2006

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"Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them" (Nehemiah 9:34). "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us" (1 Corinthians 10:11).

A friend shared with me concerning a near tragedy that took place last week in our area. A family had gone to bed, fatigued and not feeling well with slight headaches. During the night their toddler son needed to use the bathroom and they became alarmed when he was unable to stand or sit up. Realizing that something was terribly wrong they sought help and found out that there was carbon monoxide in their home due to a propane gas leak.

They had a carbon monoxide detector but had removed the battery, since it kept going off and was annoying to them.  The detector had actually sensed the presence of the deadly gas before they did and thus the beeping, but they just assumed that all was well. 

I don't know about you, but my life is full of beeps.  Everything seems to beep these days.  The microwave beeps, the smoke detectors beep, cell phones beep, our dryer beeps, watches beep and on and on.  I tend to tune out the beeps after awhile or I may disengage the source of the beeps such as the family in the above story removed the batteries to the detector.  I sure know how annoying beeps can be!

We get a lot of warnings in our lives.  We have them in our homes and cars.  There are warning signs for cancer and other diseases.  Our computers have lots of warnings.  We can ignore or disable warnings, but we do so to our own peril.

But far, far more perilous is the widespread disregard of the warnings of God and Scripture, the greatest of which involves the most definite future judgment.  This warning is not only massively ignored, but mockingly ridiculed as well, much to Satan's pleasure.  (I recall a Keith Green song in which he presents the devil gleefully proclaiming, "No one believes in me anymore.")

Our earthly nature tends to find God's "beeps" annoying and they are so often ignored.  After all, in most cases, the consequences of ignoring them are not immediately apparent.  Thus the tendency is to feel the warnings have no value. Many have sought to "remove the batteries" from God's beeps; doing all that is within their power to silence them.  We see those never-ending attempts through the secular media, liberal theology, revisionist history, political forces, entertainment industry and many other godless venues.

In the first verse I selected today from Nehemiah, a group of Levites are exhorting the people that have returned from the Exile.  They acknowledged (confessed) the failure of their ancestors to follow God's law.  This was primarily referring to the time of the wilderness wanderings recorded in the book of Numbers but certainly extends to more than just that period of history.  Indeed the condition of the human race can be summarized with this phrase, "they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them." 

The Apostle Paul is referring to the very same period in the second verse.  We should indeed learn from their example and understand that God's warnings are not a source of annoyance but another expression of His love. This is a very important truth to hide deep in our hearts as we seek to live in a manner that pleases the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, Your expressions of love and wisdom were very apparent when You met with the disciples at the Last Supper.  You shared so much that evening as You modeled servanthood and warned them of the events that would be taking place. You did not want them to be caught unaware, but yet they did not understand.   All throughout Scripture we hear the Father's warnings but there is much that we do not understand. Some of this understanding will fall into place as we have opportunity to look back and see how You were at work though Your hand was not visible at the time.  We desire to trust in You with all our heart and not lean upon our own limited understanding. As we trust You fully, we will obey You faithfully and Your blessings of favor will fall upon us.  Amen.

"Ancient Words" is a song we feel goes well with today's message and reminds us of the need to faithfully hearken to God's ancient words. This audio version is from the website of the Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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